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Friday, Mar. 04, 2011

Auburn football: BCS title game trip cost nearly $3 million

SEC covered most of bill; travel cited as major expense

- abitter@ledger-enquirer.com
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AUBURN, Ala. -- Auburn spent nearly $3 million on its trip to Glendale, Ariz., for the BCS national championship game in January, according to a bowl expense report obtained by the Ledger-Enquirer on Thursday.

The Tigers reported spending $2,901,706 on the nine-day trip that resulted in the school’s first national championship since 1957.

Auburn received a $2,287,600 expense allowance from the SEC for the trip, meaning the school ran a $614,106 deficit overall.

“A lot has to do with travel distance,” said Scott Carr, Auburn’s Senior Associate AD for External Affairs. “Basically, the reason we ran a deficit with this bowl trip was simply distance. Everybody that we took had to be on an airplane.

“If we had gone to a different bowl that was closer in proximity and could drive, you have a much better chance at a break even. But when you have to do airline charters, that’s really where the expenses came in.”

The school spent $601,245 for the 473-member traveling party of team and staff to go on the trip for nine days. An additional $362,547 was used to send 435 band members and cheerleaders for four days.

Auburn’s official party, made up of faculty and athletics department officials, went for four days at a cost of $80,527, bringing the total travel cost to $1,044,319.

The trip cost $886,718 for meals and lodging, with additional costs for entertainment ($19,648), promotion ($50,335), awards ($31,014) and equipment and supplies ($87,847).

Auburn sold 14,944 of the 17,400 tickets it committed to, absorbing 2,456 tickets for a total cost of $781,825. The absorbed tickets were for a number of people associated with the program, including the band, players’ parents, coaches’ families and athletic department officials.

Additional bowl money schools receive from the conference is not included in the report. Last year, that payout was around $2.21 million per team.

Carr said the report does not include revenue expected from the SEC for having a second team qualify for a BCS bowl. That number is generally around $4.5 million split up among the league’s 12 schools, with a share going to the conference as well.

Carr also expects additional revenue to be added from licensing fees related to winning the national championship, although he did not have an exact figure.

Auburn reported a $150,896 deficit from last year’s trip to the Outback Bowl, although that did not include the revenue earned from the conference’s second BCS bowl participant. The school spent $1,363,096 on the trip to Tampa, Fla.

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